For over 25 years, Adoption Network Cleveland's Birthmother's group has held an annual ceremony honoring birthmothers. It takes place in May on the Saturday before Mother's Day.
The ceremony consists of personal poetry, special readings, a candle lighting ceremony and recently, we have added live music. We also include an adoptive parents' voice as well as an adoptee's reading.
Times have changed and this year we are looking to enrich the ceremony by reaching out to more recent birthmothers and including their experiences to enhance our ceremony, making it more meaningful for everyone involved.
If you are one of these mothers, please consider submitting a poem by April 1, 2019 to Traci Onders at Traci.Onders@AdoptionNetwork.org. We hope that you will join us and become a part of our heartfelt ceremony in May 2019.
Below are a few selections from previous Birthmother's Day Ceremonies.
I Felt You First
By Kirsten (McNamara) Simonton, to her daughter born Dec. 10, 1996
I felt you first inside my womb
Where you developed well.
So much I wished to say
Watching my belly swell.
You made me feel so beautiful,
I carried you so proud.
Keeping you would be the sun,
Deciding not – a cloud.
Realizing what I could not give
I knew then that I should,
Pass you into a brand new life,
To someone else who could.
I felt you first as your head emerged,
I yelled so all could hear.
And suddenly we were not one –
The separateness was here.
I knew the time had come to say,
“Good-bye, sweet baby girl.”
With aching heart I touched your face
As precious as a pearl.
I gave you life and a strong start,
You gave me so much more,
A gorgeous, healthy daughter
And a love unknown before.
I felt you first before good-byes,
The loss I bravely met.
So you'll grow up and I'll go on,
But never will forget
How much it hurt to see my arms
And feel you not be there.
I wished you'd understood my love
And felt my gentle care.
Although you can't be by my side,
Sweet Daughter, please be sure,
You're in my heart and that is where,
I'll feel you forever more.
Copyright ©1996 by Kirsten McNamara (Used with permission)
We Are a Legion
By Brenda Romanchik
We are... your friend
Present in... your work place
your grocery store
your organizations your church
Mostly silent... We have begun
Tentatively telling ....
those we care about
those we work with
those who ask
and, sometimes, those that don't
Slowly, we are rising...
in the church pew on Mother's Day
into the faces of the ignorant
in front of those who have denied us for so long
We are finding..... Ourselves and Each other,
Strength in love
Copyright © 2002 by Brenda Romanchik (Used with permission)
Jeanne Hood is a birthmother and an Adoption Network Cleveland member